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[Monroe Frederick Paintings and Drawings]

Identifier: VAULT-oversize-Ayer-Art.Frederick

Scope and Content of the Collection

Three oil paintings and twelve watercolors by Monroe Frederick, who is noted as being a Hopi student. The collection includes portraits of Hopi and Navajo Indian men, and a painting of a traditional village. One oil painting, titled “Hopi Girl”, is painted on fabric canvas and signed “Monroe Frederick” on the lower right edge. The second oil painting, depicting two Indian boys is painted on canvas on board, signed “Monroe Frederick after E. Irving Crouse."


  • Creation: approximately 1910-1920



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The [Monroe Frederick Paintings and Drawings] are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The [Monroe Frederick Paintings and Drawings] are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Monroe Quamahongiva Frederick

Born in Arizona on November 24, 1897, the Hopi artist Monroe Quamahongiva Frederick showed a precocious talent for painting. While a student at the Phoenix Indian School in Phoenix, Arizona, the work of the teenage Frederick caught the eye of Edward E. Ayer. According to a newspaper article found in the Ayer manuscript collection, entitled "Indian Boy is Ayer’s Protégé: Noted Ethnologist Regrets He Did Not Visit Phoenix Sooner When He Sees Remarkable Work at Indian School," Frederick was commissioned by Edward Ayer to complete these paintings and watercolors. It reads, "Some years ago Mr. Ayer secured a large collection of Burbank’s American Indians, the finest paintings of the sort probably in existence. He arranged quite unexpectedly yesterday to add to this collection of Indian pictures. He visited the Indian school and there saw a painting of an Indian with a bow and arrow, kneeling. It was the work of a sixteen-year-old Indian boy, who at once became a protégé of Mr. Ayer. On the completion of his studies at the Indian school, Mr. Ayer will take the boy to Chicago where is will be given a training in art. Mr. Ayer commissioned him at once to paint fifteen pictures for him at $75." The description of the painting referred to in the article matches the painting [Left Profile of a Man on One Knee with a Bow and Arrow in Hand Wearing a Headdress], found in this collection. Frederick, the artist's anglicized surname, spent his adult life living within the Hopi Indian Reservation in Navajo, Arizona, where he died in 1985 at the age of eighty-seven.


3 Linear Feet (3 custom boxes)


Three oil on canvas paintings and twelve watercolor drawings on paper of various sizes housed in one green portfolio and two red clamshell boxes. Paintings and drawings are attributed to Monroe Quamahongiva Frederick, a Hopi artist. Tribes depicted include the Navajo, Crow, and Hopi. Subjects of paintings include American Indian portraits, pueblos, the southwest, dress, and copies of work by E. Irving Crouse and Elbridge Ayer Burbank.


Collection materials are arranged within two red clamshell boxes (Boxes 1-2), and within a soft portfolio (Box 3). Boxes 1 and 2 contain oil paintings on canvas while Box 3 contains an unstretched oil on canvas painting and twelve watercolor on paper drawings.

Collection Stack Location

VAULT 50 8


Gift, Edward E. Ayer.

Processed by

Gordon Dearborn Wilkins, 2015.

Inventory of the [Monroe Frederick Paintings and Drawings], approximately 1910-1920
Gordon Dearborn Wilkins
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States